WHY ARE THE SAINTS DEPRESSED?
The church is supposed to be a place of healing, forgiveness and a sanctuary of peace, especially for those who are struggling to find peace outside of the four walls. I am a survivor of sexual abuse, but it led me to years of depression and grief. I was grieving for the young person who died on that dreadful day. I found myself attending church faithfully, because it was my roots. See, I was raised in the church, yet I could find no comfort in the place that I was told as a child, was place full of healing. At the age of 13 years old, I literally created a plan to end my own life. I am amazed that I can admit that now; but it is true, that at the early age of 13, I didn’t want to live anymore. I couldn’t understand why the thought of suicide had over taken my thoughts, but all I knew is that it hurt to continue living, and death must be better than this.
Although, I would be able to overcome these thoughts of suicide after confiding in a love one, who prayed for me, the depression never fully left, and at the age of 21 it would resurface again. However, this time I not only had thoughts, but I had planned an attempt to follow through with these thoughts one night. As I sat in the bath tub of my own condo, I had made plans to cut my wrist with a razor that I had sat so neatly on the bathtub. I had considered all the cost and consequences, but it didn’t matter because death appeared way better than living. I was blessed that night because God intervene on my behalf. I was weeping and screaming and I heard the phone ring, which I am still unsure as to how it was even in the bathroom with me, because I don’t remember bringing it with me. The phone rang and I answered it, but there was complete silence, and no one said a thing; but it was as if I immediately came to myself, wiped myself off and got out of that tub, and never had another thought of death again. I can’t say that I didn’t continue to suffer with depression for a few more years, but I will say that my experience with him that night lead me on the healing path to recovery.
So how could a church goer like myself attend church weekly, and still fight depression to the extent that it left me suicidal, not once but twice. What I learned on that night of despair is that it was only my relationship with God that had the ability to deliver me from my own thoughts, and the trauma I experience as a child. Many people attend church on Sunday morning, but their experience with God only goes as far as the front door of the church building. They don’t spend time with God outside of their traditional church morning service. We can never fully know God with such limited contact with him for only two to three hours once a week at our morning church service. I was going to church once a week, but I wasn’t spending adequate time with God, and therefore I couldn’t understand his love for me.
To me God was this distant being in the sky somewhere in Heaven looking down on me, and judging me for all the wrong things that I’ve done. I couldn’t grasp the concept that he was a loving and merciful God that wanted, and desired for me to live a loving and healthy life. So, because I couldn’t receive the love of God for my life, I replaced it with bitterness, pain, suffering, and hurt. It wasn’t until I totally gave my life over to God, and received the Holy Spirit. that, I begin to see God’s love for me. As, I spent more and more time with him I understood that he wanted me to be whole, secure and loved. He wanted me to experience all that he had for me, which wasn’t limited to the few goals that I had for myself. It wasn’t until I fully became one with God, that I knew and understood who I was; and understanding who I am meant that I had to come to an understanding of who God was.
I think that the main reason that the Saints are depressed and hopeless is because they don’t really understand who God is. They only know him as the God of Sunday morning who sits in the sky, and is distant from their pain and concerns. They don’t understand that God wants and desires to spend time with them, so that they can be made whole again. They must spend time with him daily to understand him, and in return they will understand who he made them to be. We should desire his presence daily to desire the best for our lives. If you have experience trauma, disappointments, trials, tribulations, and suffering; but have never experience this unconditional love that can only come from God, then you can’t expect to ever feel loved, hopeful or inspired. To get past these feelings then we must meet the God that can supply all our needs, and these needs include emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally.
Studies suggest that 12 million women are depressed and many of these women are Christian women. How can the church pretend that the Saints are not struggling with depression? It cannot and shouldn’t continue to pretend that depression is not a part of the church assembly. However, the church must begin to address these issues by allowing people to be transparent with their current, present and past issues, so that healing and deliverance can take place. The church must stop placing bandages on wounds, and pretending that they aren’t there just because it’s too difficult to deal with. The church must first be honest about its wounded and then provide an environment where healing can take place.
Depression and mental illness is not going to just vanish into thin air, but God has given us the tools we need to heal, and it can be found in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the revealer of all truth, and it will reveal our own truths to us. He will be honest about what it is that we need to heal from. The church can no longer sweep mental illness under the rug, but we must pull the rug up and clear the dust away. We can do this by first admitting that mental illness is indeed an illness, and most of the people who are suffering from it are not demonic, but simply need healing for trauma and disappointments.
Some of the saints are indeed depressed and until the church admits its faults it can never be an effective place of worship, healing, and miracle station because it is operating on a lie that keeps many bond, persecuted and rejected. Mental health is a disease just like any other illness and it should not be ignored, but treated just like any other illness. We should approach those struggling with depression and mental illness just like we approach people with cancer, hypertension, diabetes. We should approach them with love, kindness, mercy and compassion. Until the church approach and treat its wounded, it can never fully operate the way God intended.
Why are the Saints Depressed? Because the church leaves it wounded and makes them fend for themselves. Nevertheless, when the church lacks compassion and love, then God is faithful to deliver and heal his people. I pray that the Holy Spirit will come upon every hurting person and deliver them from their pain, hurt, abuse, and bitterness; so they can live a life full of purpose, strength, love, mercy and joy.